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Can the different breeds of bees cross breed? I just read something about hybrids being able to breed with other types of Honeybee and the thought struck me that if they are pointing this out maybe the different types of bees can't interbreed. Being a dog breeder this thought had never crossed my mind before. All dog breeds can interbreed, you never really know what your going to get when they do is the problem.
 

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think of the bee breeds like breeds of cows they interbreed. they are all European honeybees. a virgin queen will mate with 15 to 25 [+/-] drones who are within a couple of miles. this means that the genes get mixed up pretty fast. hybrid here means we think we know what the queens mother was and have no idea about the drones. keeping a line sort of pure is real difficult, more like nearly impossible. there is less and less difference as the generations go on.
 

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think of the bee breeds like breeds of cows they interbreed. they are all European honeybees. a virgin queen will mate with 15 to 25 [+/-] drones who are within a couple of miles. this means that the genes get mixed up pretty fast. hybrid here means we think we know what the queens mother was and have no idea about the drones. keeping a line sort of pure is real difficult, more like nearly impossible. there is less and less difference as the generations go on.
The only thing that i would add to this is that in some areas of the world there are places that are somewhat devoid of "honey bees" naturally at this point. Those ares when and if found by someone wanting to breed bees or hybridize can be utilized to creat new strains such as the buckfast, etc. Areas like these are in the US but most people use the practice of drone saturization to get the desired results. Also now using practice of gathering desired drone stock from hives, and using artificial insemination.
 

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Well, there is a commercial pollinator 4 miles from my house as the bee flies so unless I'm using a mating box I guess I'm gonna have what he has eventually. It doesn't matter, even if he wasn't there, I'm in one of the biggest cherry producing areas in the country and they all use pollinators. And if I'm not mistaken cherry blossom time is also queen rearing and swarm time. (I realize you can raise queens at almost anytime, I'm just saying in the natural scheme of things...)
 

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the mating box is a small hive for a young queen. queens mate on the fly only. the drones she mates with will likely be within 2 1/2 miles. yes as drlonzo says you can control mating under the conditions he listed. on a commercial basis buying bees from someone, no, there is not much control if any. some of the very largest breeders do a reasonable job of drone flooding a large area. as time goes on things get mixed. as soon as you have a swarm or supercedure things are mixed 50% the second time 75%. so for us as individuals if we want "pure" stock we have to have only queens we bought from a certified source, not practical to say the least. we would have to mark queens and often, buy one for the same colony once a year or more.
 

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>Can the different breeds of bees cross breed?

If we limit the discussion to North America, and limit "bees" to honey bees then we are discussing what beekeepers classify as "race" and what taxonomists call "variety" (and dog breeders would probably call "breed") and they are all Apis mellifera and can all cross breed with each other (even if they are from Africa instead of Europe).

There are other honey bees that are a different species that are not in North America:
Apis andreniformis
Apis florea
Apis dorsata
Apis cerana
Apis koschevnikovi
Apis nigrocincta

And as far as I know none of these crossbreed between species.

There are also hundreds of other bees that are not honey bees but are in the same order as wasps (Hymenoptera) but are in the suborder Apocrita and the superfamily Apoidea. Below that you have all those solitary and eusocial bees like leaf cutters and bumble bees.
 

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there are more bees you do not know about nearby. if they are feral they came recently from someone's hive. the migratory operator has almost for certain mixed mostly italian type bees genetics sourced from a southern us queen breeder. if you were on the west coast it would be a California breeder. this is the reality of where we are at. in my area very few bees until the trucks come from the south in mid summer most years. in general queens do not mate with drones from their own hive or drones from their own beeyard. got to go looking for that new strange stuff.
 

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Maple - I suggest reading a book titled, In Search of the Best Strains of Bees Second Edition, by Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey in England. ISBN 0-907908-06-3 published by Peacock Press, copyright 2000.

Getting a handle on the many types of bees that Michael Bush mentions is a great idea (kudos, MB! great answer!), but if you are focused on European honeybees here in the US, it's a good idea to get into genetics a bit, learning to identify, test for, and breed for specific traits. Another good book is titled Introducing Genetics by Steve Jones and Borin Van Loon (not about bees, but check it out!).

Still another good book is by Dr. Ernesto Guzman Novoa titled, Elemental Genetics and Breeding for the Honeybee.
 

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Breeding is different than mere queen rearing, good buddy. ;)

I did not want to frustrate y'all in trying to obtain Laidlaw & Page's Queen Rearing and Bee Breeding, as its out of print at present.

You could spend a career trying to get the traits you want in a specific bloodline, unless you learn trait identification, testing, genetics (as it applies to honeybees), queen rearing, drone rearing, instrumental insemination, and strategies such as killing or elsewhere isolating drones of colonies without the desired trait, among others. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Why not read form those who have studied? It could save me a whole lot of time...

I hear some people (may I call them pendejos?) say that you can't learn a **** thing from reading, but, as John Wayne says, "Life is tough, but it's a whole lot tougher if you are stupid." I'm only suggesting some good reads, not advocating "info overload". It does feel like that on the first reading sometimes, that's why I try to read books 4 times while doing and practicing. It starts coming clearer with experience, but what experience would I have gained without Lorenzo Langstroth, Amos Root, Dr. C.C. Miller, Henry Alley, Gilbert Doolittle, Jay Smith, Brother Adam, Dr. Otto Mackinsen, Dr. John Harbo, Dr. John Eckert, Dr. Harry Laidlaw, Dr. Susan Cobey, Tom & Suki Glenn, Randy Oliver, Michael Bush, Michael Palmer, Kirk Webster, (and so many more who were/are wiser than me, that I only wish that I could list them all here) aiming my way? Would I even know there is a queen bee in a hive?

Honestly, I try not to laugh at the pendejos. By the way, pendejo is the Spanish word for a person endowed with that rare combination of being extreme stupid AND being insidious. Pendejos might learn, but usually not at a very fast rate. Oh yes, I feel like one when I learn about my own mistakes the hard way! Stupid hurts.
 

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Breeding is different than mere queen rearing, good buddy. ;)
Well sure, but do you really think that was what the OP was about? A call for suggestions about which three books to read?

I may have Laidlaw's book. But I have everything from my office packed away. If I remember when I next see my bee books again, I will contact you.
 

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To his original post, Michael Bush's reply is exactly correct, mine is extraneous.

I guess I think that Beesource is for those that want to look over information. You don't have to read it all, but you might get a good idea if you read some of it. The videos help, too, but have you seen a good video (as good as Laidlaw & Page's book, or Brother Adam's for that matter) that explains genetics, breeds, traits, etc.?

I love combining videos with reading, experimenting, and other forms of study, along with practicing and engineering. I do so in hopes of increasing my apiary and developing better bees. Wouldn't it be great to keep only 267 colonies and produce 400 lbs of honey per hive average? Dr. Charles Miller did over 400 lbs for SOME of his colonies, yet he may still hold the per-hive-average record, almost 100 years later! (Yes, I read Fifty Years Among the Bees as often as I can.)

Maplevalleykennel is a dog breeder, and breeding bees is a bit different than breeding dogs, as bees in a hive are related to each other differently that pups in a litter. I only hope to suggest a path from where he/she is to where he/she may want to go with it.

But, like your trailer used to read, "D'oh! I could have been working my hives!"
(One of my favorites!)
 
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